The NBA world learned of sad news on Saturday. Famed Portland Trail Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonely died at age 93.
Schonely, who helped originate the popular nickname “Rip City” for Portland, led a long and eventful life before his passing. Blazer fans dubbed the broadcaster “The Schonz” and “Mr. Rip City” after he coined the iconic phrase. Schonely called games for the Portland Trail Blazers from 1970-1998, calling over 2,500 broadcasts on radio and TV.
The Blazers and the Portland community also will fondly remember Schonely for his charity and philanthropy work.
Schonely leaves behind his wife, Dottie, whom he was married to for 31 years. No cause of death has been revealed.
Several in the NBA world left tributes for Schonely as they mourned his passing.
Took this photo before the final game of last season when the Blazers were honoring Bill Schonley as he retired from his role as team ambassador. pic.twitter.com/syn8Ub44Af
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) January 21, 2023
Jennifer Hoff said, “I don’t know Dwight Jaynes – but I think he said it best. ‘Portland has lost its voice.’ Legendary Trail Blazers broadcaster, Bill Schonely, died at 93. RIP to The Schonz, the one and only.”
I don’t know @dwightjaynes – but I think he said it best.
“Portland has lost its voice.” 💔
Legendary @trailblazers broadcaster, Bill Schonley, died at 93. 🎙️
RIP to The Schonz, the one and only.https://t.co/28WjhpaYiv
— Jennifer Hoff (@JennHoffReports) January 21, 2023
A Blazers fan left a photo of them with Schonely together at a game.
BILL SCHONLEY FOREVER ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9SWCDdLA9l
— cel (✧ω✧) (@cccelenaaa) January 21, 2023
The Trail Blazers created an incredible tribute video.
"Wherever you may be, this is Bill Schonely. Rip City!" pic.twitter.com/2uKhAmKqXA
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 21, 2023
The aforementioned Lillard called it “A sad day for the city and for the organization. His voice will be remembered. What he represented will be remembered. I’m just happy that I’ve been around long enough and spent enough time around him to call him a friend.”
Damian Lillard on the passing of Bill Schonely:
"It's a sad day for the city and for the organization… His voice will be remembered. What he represented will be remembered. I'm just happy that I've been around long enough and spent enough time around him to call him a friend." pic.twitter.com/Zpc6OnqFzb
— Brenna Greene (@BrennaGreene_) January 21, 2023